Well we have the 64-bit chips, but what about the OS? Microsoft said today that release candidates would soon be appearing for several 64-bit Windows versions that use the same code base, including Windows Server 2003 x64 Editions and Windows XP Professional x64 Edition.

"For some time, Microsoft has been promising to deliver 64-bit versions of Windows to support AMD's Opteron and Athlon 64 processors, but final releases of the server and desktop operating systems were delayed until next year. The same version of Windows will also accommodate chips from Intel that support 64-bit extensions to the longstanding x86 architecture."

64-bit computing has a myriad of advantages over the presently prevalent 32-bit, including he ability to directly access more than 4GB of physical memory. Microsoft hopes that 64-bit computing will therefore become the norm before too long, and these new operating systems will help that come about.